fallingbooks: (Default)
Okay, I tried to post about my 2 Week Sweater yesterday and it got eaten and my heart was broken and the world was ending so I went off to mope and spin some SAL fiber for the rest of the evening. Let us all hope that this goes better this time.

(The post, not the sweater. It's still in a completely unnommed state as far as I know. Maybe I should go check...)

ditz inna damariscotta (my god I hate having my picture taken.)SO! I finished my sweater at midnight on Saturday morning, and almost a week later I'm still wandering around in a state of shock. I. Made a sweater. Holy freaking crap, I made a SWEATER. In LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.

(In case it hadn't clicked, I'd never made a sweater before. Sweaters were big and scary and had seams, dear God, SEAMS. Only really good knitters made sweaters.)

I honestly feel like I can take over the entire world right now, clad in my fiefdom conquering sweater and despot crushing socks. My ego is now immense and my self esteem is insanely high. I had a huge mental block and this project helped me vault right over it and now all I want to do is make sweaters. Lots of them. Right now. No, seriously. RightNow. If for no other reason than that, the project was a success, but it turns out that despite my yarn-subbing, modifying shenanigans, the sweater is surprisingly wearable as well. Huzzah!

Deets:

Pattern:
Damariscotta from the Spring 2010 Twist Collective
Yarn: Stitch Nation Full O' Sheep in Mediterranean
Needles: KnitPicks Zephyr Interchangeables, size 6 and random sz 5s (DPN + straights)

Starting at the bottom of the list -- I decided to test drive the Zephyrs on this project. (I needed to get a size 6 circular, anyway.) I have a longstanding love of vintage plastics, (and also a longstanding history of accidentally snapping them, whoops,) so I've always been intrigued by them. Can I say, these needles are seriously awesome? I could get all pretentious and talk about handfeel and flexibility, but the bottom line is they're nicely slick so that your yarn moves over them easily, and they have the warmth and give that I've come to expect from using the vintage needles all while being pretty darn cheap. I'll definitely be adding more of these to the collection.

The yarn, however... this just wasn't the right project for it, for me personally. I had it kicking around in the right quantity and didn't want to go buy the recommended yarn (because I am lazy, and there tends to be a dearth of decent cottons around here,) so I totally take ownership for my decision. That said, the yarn halos like mad, and when I say 'like mad' I'm not indulging in hyperbole to talk about the little bit of fluff that you get on knitted objects after a couple careful wearings. No. I'm talking, 'holy crap, this looks like a carpet after a 3 am catfight between some seriously aggravated persians' before the darn thing was even worn. (Okay, maybe THAT'S a bit of an exaggeration, but not too much!) I was simply shocked by how much it haloed knitting it up, considering how smooth it looks in the skein. Me, I'm not a huge fan of fuzzy sweaters. Scarves, hats, shawls, fine. Sweaters, no. YMMV. The color is lovely and even, however, and it is fabulously warm.

I love the pattern. I'll probably use it as a base for a fistful of other sweaters. The directions are clear and concise, comes in a variety of sizes, and it's easily moddable to adapt to your personal wants. Personal mods: lowered the neckline by 8 rows (still legal, but will layer better over some of my other tops,) subbed in 6 rows of seed stitch, bound off in pattern for the rolled hems on the arms, and 8 rows, split at the side seams for the bottom hem. The main things I'll probably do the next time is tinker with the decreases coming out of the bust, and add an extra one for a slightly snugger fit, and not move to a smaller needle for the hems.

I'm thinking a slightly longer body with long sleeves that switch to a complimentary color at the elbow for the next one.

---

In spinning news, I currently have two SALs on tap. The ITW one needs to be completed, um, soon, (It went on the wheel last night!) but the Fiber Fancy batts arrived yesterday (accompanied by Laffy Taffy and candy buttons!) so I think I'll put them aside and work on them as part of the Tour de Fleece insanity.

(I may have a poll on what I should work on for TdF this weekend, because I seem to have acquired quite a bit of fluff, and my decision making capabilities are a bit overwhelmed by all of it. It does not help that I essentially have no plan for any of it.)

--

Into The Whirled SAL fiber - Inspirations 'Starcrossed' & 'Teal'


itw-starcrossedITW - Teal

--

Fiber Fancy SAL fiber - Wonka 'Fizzy Lifting Drinks'

fiber fancy - fizzy lifting drink

---

I'm thinking about including some book reviews and whatnot on this blog. I used to maintain a yearly list of new books I'd read and some capsule reviews elsewhere, but let it lapse about a year ago, but I'm starting to feel love again. I read mostly urban fantasy, romance, graphic novels, and gobs of YA, as an fyi/fair warning. ;)
fallingbooks: Schact Ladybug #51! (spinning)
First off: SUCCESS! I finished the sweater in the week smalls of Saturday morning (possibly fueled by some boxed riesling,) and will try to get some pictures and notes up about it later in the week. I gotta wash and block it first. Which reminded me:

I bought a couple bags of unwashed alpaca (gorgeous natural greys and blacks, which are my favorite,) at  a show this year and decided that in order to have it ready for the Tour de Fleece, I needed to wash that sucker asap. I have a pound of it, and I have plans to get through it and about a pound of other miscelleaneous pretties while watching Dr. Who avidly.

(I admit, I am not so much into bicycling races as I am into having an excuse to be single-minded about a project for a set period of time. I am on teams Tardis and ITW on Rav.  Join us!)

(Incidentally, I now have 'Doctor, doctor, gimme the news' rattling around my head.)

I had no idea the sheer amount of ick that would come out of this stuff. Oh. My. Unspecified Deity. I threw a few ounces in a large mesh laundry bag and started rinsing it out with a little shampoo and I'm quite frankly not sure my tub will ever recover from this. As it stands it's still not perfectly clean, but it's good enough that I should be able work with it without watching the ick build up on my hands in horror.

I think this may cure me of my fleece-lust, at least until a get a bigger place (and a scrub sink) to work on this stuff in.

On the other hand, I now desperately want a drum carder and some silver angelina.

It's always something. ;)

--
Edit: Alpaca with his own personal wading pool. Very funny.
fallingbooks: piles of books and yarn (fallingbooks)
I belong to a couple of yarn/fiber clubs. The idea being that you pay a set amount (I prefer the monthly pay-as-you-go ones, but most of them tend to be lump sum payments for spans of anywhere from three months to a year,) and you get a surprise package of yarn/fiber and accessories that are valued at x percent of your payment. Right now I'm in two sock yarn clubs and a fiber club.

I think they are in concept great things. Good for stash building, wonderful monthly surprises (if you don't know what you signed up for,) usually a decent bang for your buck, but they're also something of an 'I have money to burn' or 'I am extreeeeeeeeemely flexible about my knitting' kind of luxury. I don't know that I fall quite in either category at the moment.

For example, I love that my fiber club uses all kinds of different wools to send things out on. I probably wouldn't have tried Shetland as readily and I quite love it thanks to the club. But I don't know if I've just hit a bum run or what, but the last 3 our of four shipments just have not appealed to me. They were on fibers I already know (and have too much of) or they were colors that were decidedly not me, or both. I think that's a sign I need to drop that club, at least for the time being. I'm also getting a little control freak about my spinning and have very decided ideas about what I want to spend my time creating right now.

One sock club ends this month so while it's been fun, I'm glad I don't have to worry about re-upping. The other sock club I quite like as there's always at least two color options to pick from and the bases are delightful, except it's a little expensive because we get a pattern every month for socks. They're LOVELY patterns. Very intricate, very pretty. HOWEVER. I am pretty sure, based on my socky experiences, that they're are not going to fit my feet as written, and the really figural ones will not be (easily) adaptable. I'm not sure what I want to do about this one. There are sister clubs I can slip into to get the same colorways, but they're not quite the same with regard to yarn bases. I'm still mulling it over. I've only recently join and am still trying out their different bases, so I may hang in a little while longer before making any major moves. The club colors have been delightful the last few months, and I can always use the patterns for socks for other people.

---

I'm currently in a knitting phase at the moment with a couple shawls, a pair of socks, and a sweater on the needles at the moment. I'll post up pictures and pattern links when I get a bit further along.
fallingbooks: piles of books and yarn (fallingbooks)
One of my favorite things to do is to knit in groups. I am a fan of the stitch and bitch, the spin in, the knitting in public. There's a kind of magic in filling a space with people engaging in the act of creation, and even if you've never met before there's a sense of community that settles over the crowd. You talk with each other, learn from each other, ogle their toys and grope their yarn. Sometimes there's even beer and prizes. (The former more often than the latter, although I'll touch on that momentarily.) I got hooked on this whole spinning thing at a stitch and bitch. A friend of mine pulled out a drop spindle and I was entranced. She let me try it and about a yard of decimated wool later, I was addicted.

(I am now doing my damnedest to enable her into a wheel.)

This past Sunday was the 4th annual knit-in held by the tech valley yarn shops in Troy, New York. This is only the second I've been to, but it was distinctly bigger than last year's. The main room was jammed with over 70 knitters at one point,and it was really kind of amazing. There were definitely more familiar faces this time around for me than last year, and it was nice to see some folks that I'd kind of lost touch with after the Wednesday night (not the Monday or Tuesday night) Troy group disintegrated.

(Troy is kinda lousy with stitch and bitches.)

New in the side room this year were demos of various fiber arts and processes. Someone was doing a demo on how to paint yarn, someone else had some lovely crewel work displayed. I saw a bunch of little kids felting things, and someone was pulling fiber with pitch combs. The dyeing thing definitely caught my interest, but the best part for me were the wheels. My local dealer brought a Matchless, and oh, I am in LOVE. A Matchless is the next wheel up for a Ladybug with solid maple construction and (as I discovered) whisper quiet and smooth treadling. I'm thinking that I may put it on the short list of big purchases for next year. I've been in a swoon for the last 48 hours, it was that good.

The other thing I love about this event are the raffles. They are often and awesome. Last year I won some lovely Ella Rae booklets. It seemed like the entire corner I was in won something. And this year it happened again! Behold:

Araucania! Of! Doom!

I won a ten skein bag of Araucania Nature Wool Multy! I have no idea what I'm going to make with it yet, but I think I can safely say that the $5 I spent on tickets was some of the best I've ever spent. I think I'm a little weirded out by how well it matches some sock yarn I bought a few weeks ago, though:

Holiday yarns in Teenage Romance.

Total accident.

At the end of the day, my partners in crime and I wandered out of there with our newly won prizes, some awesome project ideas, and a plan to reboot our late lamented Wednesday S&B. It was fantastic. I can't wait for next year.

(Note to Lisa: Next year will be your year! I just know it!)

Randomness

Mar. 21st, 2010 11:17 pm
fallingbooks: (tea)
I want to learn how to crochet SOLELY so that I can make pineapple lace doilies and antimacassars and whatnot. It's a thing.

plans,

Feb. 28th, 2010 04:31 pm
fallingbooks: (Default)
Planning has never been a particular strength of mine. Or at least when faced with a multitude of options. (If you give me one project and tell me to focus on it it, that's one thing. I'm a rockstar at that. Give me an assortment of shiny projects with no deadlines, however...) I've spent a good chunk of the morning poking at my ravelry queue and running around etsy looking at some handpainted roving and I'm at a loss for what to do next, and how to prioritize.

- Do I want to make a big project or a small one?
- Do I want to use yarn I have or do I want to get new yarn?
- Do I want to spin the yarn or just buy it?
- Will my sanity hold up if I try to spin it?
- Where on earth with I get that much fiber from?

And on it goes.

I think, at least, I want to finish up the projects already in progress (for example, I'd really like to finish my Peaks Island Hood while it's still cold enough to wear it (which for me, means below freezing, I'm a hearty Northastern Gal and fear no cold temperatures,))and then maybe only have one stash-busting wip going while I move on to working on writing some patterns and spinning up what I currently have in stash. I have a couple of ideas for shawl, scarf, and hood-like-thing patterns which I'd like to get written and tested before the fall and this mass backlog of OMGness is definitely holding it up.

This would all be so much simpler if I could hit the lottery for some big money or there were a few more hours in the day.
fallingbooks: (yarn)
There are a bunch of posts I feel like I should be making before this one, but if I wait to post until I'm ready to write them, I'll never get to it. Hi, hello, I fell off the face of the Earth, I'm sorry.

This is what my bathroom looks like right now:

a rainbow of yarn hanging of the shower rod. Which is this side of snapping.

Yes, the wheel and I finally made friends. Huzzah! And I find that more than buying and using commercial or even indie dyed yarns, I like making my own better. (I will probably like it even more once I get better control over the thickness of my singles. Now everything calls for fingering weight yarn.) There's just this real sense of satisfaction in knowing that it's all your doing from start to finish and that it's exactly what you wanted.

Which is why I'm going to start dying my own fiber.

(I should note: I did not dye any of the stuff in the picture.)

I know, I know, I'm nuts. But I'm getting a free microwave to use for dyeing when a friend of mine moves next month. She and her husband bought a house that has a built in, so this one's going out the door which is fortuitous for me! This means dyeing shall commence with terrifying fervor next month. (Or maybe April. I'm not sure when she's moving just yet.) I think this means I'm going to back off on buying dyed stuff unless it's really gorgeously gorgeous so I can funnel the funds into supplies and suchlike. I'm really quite !!!!! about the whole thing because it really changes my whole fibery worldview. spinning aside, so long as I buy the right base yarn, I can dye it to be whatever I want. No more hunting for the right color in the right fiber in the right weight. No more grumbling about the lack of semi-solids in affordable commercial yarn. No more whining because my favorite color isn't currently in fashion. (Not true at the moment as I'm totally into that dark teally blue floating around, but how long can my luck last, really?) I'm not saying that it isn't going to be an incredible, insane disaster to start out because it so totally is going to be, but eventually I'll get there, and it is going to be AWESOME.
fallingbooks: (yarn)
Focus, Sarah! Focus!

I'm going to miss the Thatcher Park Sheep and Wool tomorrow in favor of doing other more necessary things, but that's probably a good thing as I'm already living in fear of Rhinebeck.

Tomorrow is World Wide Knit in Public day, so if you knit go out and sit on your front stoop with a WIP. Be proud of your knitting-nerdness! :)

I have started the ubiquitous February Lady sweater. I've never made a sweater before, much less one with buttonholes. I sense a disaster in the making. Hopefully it'll at least be entertaining. (I haven't frogged it yet!)

All of the pretty yarns I like at Webs that are on sale are freaking DK. Do I have any patterns in my queue that call for DK-weight yarn? Of course not. Worsted all the way!

I am coveting Schaefer Susan in Lillian Gilbraith like wo. (Yes, I still say that.) I need two skeins of it for the shawl I want to make, I just can't bring myself to fork over that much money for two skeins of yarn, you know? Even if it is economically equivalent to most other indie dyers and totally worth it. (Of course, my ongoing wibbling over the Margaret Meade, Beatrix Potter (which I KNOW I've seen in person, is white/green/aqua,) and Mary Leakey colorways does not help clarify things. ML would probably get the most use/enjoyment, but my literary roots crave Gilbreths.)

Booklist migrating here shortly. I find that by spending all my time knitting, I barely get any reading done. I need more hands.

Also - why the frelling hell is Illyana both a teenager and not dead? I mean, I get that it's Marvel - no one stays dead forever - but I'm just confused. Does this mean we're going to get Doug back, too?
fallingbooks: (yarn)
I've found that spinning, for me anyway, is a lot like playing Rock Band. For the first hour or so there's some attempt at artistry - or at least competency. After that it's a long downhill grind to meet a certain goal, and it might be best to pack it in for a while. That said, I find that I really, REALLY, like spinning yarn. It's fun. I love taking a multicolored braid of roving and seeing how it spins out. So far I seem to do best with a low whorl drop spindle (tried a top whorl, we don't like each other,) and I'm working with merino, which is apparently not a usual beginner fiber choice. Eh. I'm doing fine with it. I like it better than the Falkland I'm messing around with now. Eventually the plan is to get a wheel - I'm pretty sure I want a Schacht Ladybug, because it's supposed to be newbie friendly, but also carry me for a while afterward, but that's still a while out yet. (Also: red wheel OMG.)

My first attempt in progress:
Delusions of Spinning Grandeur

And relatively completed:

FirstYarn!

(The pictures are fail. I am not much a photographer, my apologies.)

I spun that mostly while sitting in Amtrak trains between NYC and DC. I definitely got some odd looks from passengers. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it as there's really not all that much of it. Maybe I'll just hang in a shadowbox on the wall somewhere as a trophy. Ideas?

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Sarah

January 2011

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